Sneaking an opportunity recently, I sat and watched a huge storm roll in. It was amazing, awe inspiring even. These events have happened since the dawn of time and the only difference between occurrences is intensity and duration. Thunderstorms haven’t stopped, changed or morphed into something completely different — which brings us nicely to Aposento: throughout their many lineup changes and fifteen year silence (broken in 2012) they are the death metal equivalent to a thunderstorm. Their brand of death metal, on second full length Bleed to Death, is exactly as it was 27 years ago when they formed: pure and to the point.
Slowly but surely over the years death metal has been pulled, pushed, expanded upon and monkeyed with. And truthfully this is a good and healthy thing for the genre to continue to progress. Take John Frum’s recent debut A Stirring In the Noos and tell me that their experimental approach isn’t fresh — genres need this sort of thing to carry on. But in other cases, current albums that are ‘old school’ end up being flashes in the pan, boring even, and mostly because there’s no heart in it. Instead, the effort comes off as a rehash and within a cursory listen or two the album is all but forgotten. There’s no doubt the death metal of today looks, feels and sounds different than it did in ’90 when Aposento got their start but they’ve managed to stay in a bubble of sorts and shrug off today’s nuances in favor of gritty death metal done the way it was originally intended. And yes, the genre does need champions of the old ways just as much as it needs to progress.
Member changes and the fact that in all these years the band is just now on their second full length matters none. Listening to skull crushers like “Maleficarvm” and “Wishing Hell” bring on a knowing grin of satisfaction. Going back to the storm analogy, nothing has changed since the band got back together in 2012 or since their self titled debut came out in 2014. That same debut may have been a little more raw and lacking a melodic groove but here, on opener “Bleeding Flesh,” this is rectified as they showcase a nasty groove that would make Obituary blush. And later on “Revenge Against God” they give early Deicide a run for their money.
None of this would mean a thing if the album was simply 10 tracks of glory day rehash or the same riffs done in different scales repeated ad infinitum. But the many tempo changes, subtle groove and surprising twists will entertain any fan of extreme metal. And for as many repeat listens as one can stand. Today’s technology means that bands who wave the flag of yesteryear are afforded a clean and crisp sound and Bleed to Death benefits from this in spades. Throughout the many buzzsaw cadences, growled lyrics and pinpoint accurate drum bashing the separation of instruments is very audible, meaning nothing is buried or muddled or sounds like a bathroom recording. Let’s face it, the best of musicians could release the album of their career but a shoddy production job could tank it before it ever built a head of steam. Fortunately, that’s not the case here.
On Bleed to Death, Aposento make a strong case for keeping it real: there’s no syrupy doom, no pan seared blackened anything or wah-wah noodling of any kind. Instead, this is straight ahead death metal that adheres to the rules of engagement set nearly 30 years ago: get in, get out and leave a vicious mark on the eardrums. The genre may have changed over the years but Aposento stand firm and strict in their belief that death metal doesn’t need to be fancy or overdone. With that said, if you’re looking for boundary pushing or prog/blackened/thrash/psychedelic you’ll need to look elsewhere but if you’re feigning for tried and true death metal this is where you’ll find it.